The UFV Cascades wrestling program moves to an individual model starting this season.

UFV wrestlers return to the mat on Friday

Two Cascades wrestlers competing in Calgary under individual model, eight on team

After a spring and summer of uncertainty, wrestlers will be competing under the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades colours starting on Friday.

Two wrestlers will make the trip to Calgary for the Dinos Invitational tournament.

UFV announced the suspension of its wrestling program for the 2019-20 season back in April, but stated that individual wrestlers will still be allowed to represent the school. Those wrestlers must now pay their own entry costs to any tournaments and all travel fees. They must also meet all academic requirements to ensure eligibility.

RELATED: UFV wrestling program suspends operations

The suspension of the program came following the removal of original head coach Raj Virdi back in November and parting ways with assistant coach Gurjot Kooner in December. Former Canadian national wrestling champion and current UFV facilities operations coordinator Stacie Anaka then took over coaching duties for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.

RELATED: Cascades coaching chaos at University of Fraser Valley wrestling program

Abbotsford’s Mid Valley Athletic Club has now stepped up and assisted with the funding of the athletes and the hiring of a coach. The MVAC has also brought back Kooner to coach the program. Jim Mitchell of the MVAC said it was a logical decision to bring him back into the role.

“We needed a coach and he’s the best fit,” he said. “He’s very knowledgable and if he didn’t do it we would have been scrambling to get someone. He’s the first guy we asked and he was more than willing to come back.”

Mitchell said that UFV have been helpful to make the team a reality.

“They’ve been helping us out with administration things and eligibility and they allow us to train in the gym for free,” he said. “They also have access to the trainer.”

Mitchell said he harbours no ill well for UFV moving away from the funding of the team.

“They have to cover their butts and make certain decisions and I understand that,” he said.

The wrestlers competing under Cascades colours this season are: Amar Atwal, Sunny Benning, Simren Brar, Karan Dhillon, Brad Hildenbrandt, Ali Raghuzar, Harvin Mand and Calista Espinosa.

Wrestlers will have to compete in at least two Canada West tournaments during the 2019-20 season to be eligible for the championships in the spring.

Mitchell admitted it will be difficult to attract top talent under the individual model.

“We didn’t have a coach to do any recruiting,” he said. “We’re hoping we will do a good job here under this model and get some operational costs back.”

He added that what is in place right now is a short-term solution, but things could always change.

Mitchell said he wants the Cascades model to be part of a larger regional wrestling system that would see more high school and middle school students get interested in the sport. He would like to see MVAC help grow the sport in local schools and then have the UFV program there for those who want to continue to pursue the sport.

He also confirmed that UFV and MVAC will host the Cascades Classic wrestling tournament in January.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A group of Abbotsford secondary principals’s and vice-principals are at a retreat in Whistler this weekend. ( photo)
Abbotsford principals attending retreat in Whistler despite COVID-19 gathering restrictions

Unclear how reported group of 20 will be following COVID-19 protocols during Whistler Pro-D event

The family of Anika Janz, who died after collapsing at school, has launched a GoFundMe to assist with funeral proceedings. (GoFundMe photo)
Family of Abbotsford student who died launches GoFundMe

Rick Hansen Secondary School student Anika Janz, 14, died after collapsing in PE class

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Fraser South region has doubled in the last two weeks. The number of cases in the Fraser East region has tripled.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
COVID-19 surge in B.C. fuelled by spikes in new cases in Fraser Valley & Surrey area

Number of newly confirmed cases has tripled in Fraser Valley and doubled in the Surrey/Langley area

John Redekop, with wife Doris, was the 2019 recipient of the Betty Urquhart Community Service Award from UFV. (Photo courtesy of UFV)
Nominations open until Oct. 30 for UFV’s Betty Urquhart Awards

Award recognizes ‘significant impact’ of volunteer work by an individual or group

Two recent flights into Abbotsford International Airport have had recent COVID-19 exposures, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
Two flights into Abbotsford have had recent COVID-19 exposures

Centre for Disease Control asks passengers to monitor for symptoms for 14 days

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read